It’s finally gardening time outside

Published 9:00 am Sunday, April 24, 2016

A trusty garden wagon will hold flowers that need to go into the garage at night until temperatures warm enough to plant. - Carol Hegel Lang/Albert Lea Tribune

A trusty garden wagon will hold flowers that need to go into the garage at night until temperatures warm enough to plant. – Carol Hegel Lang/Albert Lea Tribune

Serendipity Gardens by Carol Hegel Lang

It’s finally time to get busy in the garden and get some of the chores started. I did manage to rake the yard on the north side of the driveway, but still have the south side to work on when I can get my husband to help. We have a row of spruce trees that collect all the leaves from the neighborhood over the winter along with lots of garbage, so I hold up the branches while my husband takes the blower and blows the stuff out of them. So far, we have not been able to coordinate our schedules and get this done. One of these days we need to mow part of the lawn that has long tufts sprouting above the rest of the grass. I have discouraged him from mowing because it is very dry and would rather wait until we get a nice rain again.

Carol Hegel Lang

Carol Hegel Lang

I made my first trip with a friend to visit several garden centers that are now open with no intention of purchasing anything yet because it is way too early to plant. That means I would have to haul it all back in the garage every night, which is a chore that I don’t exactly relish as I am getting older. Needless to say, we both bought a few things, so I guess that means I better get the greenhouse set up tomorrow so they can go in there at night until we have steady temperatures.

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I finally got all of the bricks laid for the expansion of the cutting garden after scavenging my brick pile to get all of the same style of bricks. I even managed to plant about a dozen coneflowers that another friend gifted to me in this area. My new heavy duty spade arrived yesterday and that will make digging plants and dividing them so much easier. It has a saw-tooth edge on it that is supposed to cut through sod easily.

I also ordered a mason bee house that my husband will need to make a box to fit around since they are not supposed to sway in the breeze, and this one, like most of the ones that are cheaper, comes with a hook to hang them. I’m glad I researched them before I hung it up so I know how and where they should be hung. They need to face south or southeast so the morning sun will warm them up since they don’t have the heavy coat that other bees have and no tree foliage should cover them.

I have to get my native plants in the ground that arrived the other day and have been in storage in the refrigerator until I can find places to put them. Many of the perennials are not above ground yet and they will be going into a perennial bed. Until the others are above ground I am at a loss as to where they can get planted.

I cut off the dead stems on three of the six rose bushes and hopefully will finish the rest of them tomorrow. Once they are leafed out I will spread Epsom salt and slow-release fertilizer around the base of them and then scratch it into the soil and water well.

My crocuses finished blooming and the early daffodils are just beginning to open while a couple of blue grape hyacinth next to the south side of the house shout out hello to me. Every fall I think I am going to get more of them planted, but so far that just hasn’t happened. My tulips haven’t started to bud out yet and thankfully the rabbits have left them alone, but I better set up the little fence and place the pinwheel in the middle of them or they will probably snack on the buds.

Boy, I think I should make a list every morning of the tasks that need to get done because once I get to the gardens I am distracted by other things that I see need work. By the end of the day half of the chores I was planning on working on didn’t get touched. As I walk by the birdfeeders that are empty I will go and fill all of them and then I see the birdbaths are low on water so off I go to fill them. This time of the year really keeps me busy trying to get everything done that needs to be. Happy gardening everyone!

“Spring won’t let me stay in this house any longer! I must get out and breathe the air deeply again.” — Gustav Mahler


Carol Hegel Lang is a green thumb residing in Albert Lea. Her column appears weekly. Email her at